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Top 4 Healthy Eating Stories of the Last Decade

November 25, 2020 - Rhys Branman, MD

woman cutting fruit at the kitchen counter

Between people experimenting with optimizing their personal health and scientific discoveries, the last decade has brought forth numerous breakthroughs in our collective thinking about what constitutes healthy eating—and what doesn’t. We thought it was time for a look back…how many of these news stories were you aware of?

1) Intermittent fasting can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Rewind to 2010 and you might remember how healthy snacking was widely recommended as a way to regulate your blood sugar; it sure sounds logical! However, according to more recent research, the opposite may be true: abstaining from foods for a portion of your day is actually more helpful than snacking when it comes to improving metabolism and training your body to maintain healthy insulin levels. What’s happening here? It turns out that taking breaks from food gives your fat cells an opportunity to release any stored sugar, which can then be used by the body as energy.

Abstaining from food for a portion of the day gives your fat cells an opportunity to release stored sugar, which can then be used by the body.

Intermittent fasting (often defined as limiting food consumption to an 8-hour period within each day) is now a popular option for people looking to mind their blood sugar levels or lose weight. If you have more questions—or still wonder “does intermittent fasting work?”—check out this Harvard Health blog post and then talk to your doctor about if it’s right for you.

2) More is not always better when it comes to vitamins.

The 2010s saw a number of studies showing that overdoing vitamins—even the most venerated recommendations like calcium and Vitamin D—could lead to problems. For example:

  • An excess of calcium may lead to dementia. Many older women take calcium supplements to ward off osteoporosis, but in doing so they may be putting themselves at greater risk for the onset of dementia. A 2016 study revealed that calcium supplements can contribute to dementia, particularly in older women with cerebrovascular issues.
  • Too much Vitamin D can be harmful to the bones. While we all need Vitamin D for our bodies to function, it been trending as a supplement in recent decades to the point that researchers felt the need to look into the effects of high-dose Vitamin D. The Harvard Health blog explains how these studies found higher doses of Vitamin D may actually have a negative effect on bone density. While some people whose bodies don’t properly absorb the nutrient may benefit from higher doses, most individuals should stay within recommended allowances of Vitamin D.

3) Probiotics depend on prebiotics.

You’re probably familiar with probiotics, nutritional supplements that send healthy, digestion-assisting bacteria into your gut, allegedly leading to a number of benefits. While it is undoubtedly helpful to have digestive bacteria in your gut, science has thrown some suspicion on the validity of simply tossing back probiotic supplements in pill form. You might think these supplements were setting up billions of good guys in your gut, but it’s not so. Check out this full study to understand more about the limitations of probiotic supplements.

Many researchers now believe that, rather than introducing new bacteria, it’s more beneficial to encourage the good ones already living in your gut. The best way to help healthy gut microbes flourish is through a diet abundant in prebiotic food, most notably fiber-rich vegetables. Still want to add probiotics? Foods such as kimchi or live sauerkraut have both prebiotics and probiotics in one healthy package.

4) Fat is important.

The last decade saw health food fanatics go from being a largely anti-fat group to preachers of the fat gospel, loading their refrigerators with avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and even (gasp!) butter. It’s safe to say no one in 2005 would have seen the Keto trend coming. As with all diet trends, the pendulum is swinging back to the middle, though it’s been good for people to realize fat isn’t evil.

Scientists and nutrition experts confirm that fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet, helping keep you full and providing energy. The important thing is to make sure you’re consuming the right kinds of fat; you can get more information about this from the Cleveland Clinic.

Healthy eating can help keep you radiant, but if you need a little extra boost, there are options.

A healthy diet is one key to glowing skin and a fit body, but the past decade also brought many advancements in cosmetic medicine. Here at our Little Rock cosmetic surgery center, we’ve got proven options from skin renewal to fat reduction. We’d love to help you find the best ways to achieve your goals—reach out to our trusted team for a personal consultation.

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